A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Whoppers of 2009

Although 2009 was not an election year, it kept us exceptionally busy, and led to millions of visits to our site. In this year-end summary, we offer some of the worst examples of the falsehoods we encountered during the first year of the Obama administration. The list of howlers includes the false claim that the stimulus bill would dictate …

International Gun Ban Treaty?

Q: Has Obama found a "legal way around the Second Amendment"?
A: The administration’s agreement to talk about writing a United Nations treaty to regulate arms exports and imports is a far cry from banning possession of firearms, which Obama says he doesn’t want to do and the Supreme Court has said can’t be done anyway.

500 Percent Ammo Tax?

Q: Is Obama planning to increase the federal tax on gun ammunition by 500 percent?
A: No such proposal has been made by the Obama administration. And nobody in Congress has introduced any bill to increase the 11 percent federal excise tax on ammo.

GAO Report: U.S. Source For “Large Portion” of Mexican Crime Guns

According to a new report issued by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the United States is the source for a “large proportion of the firearms fueling Mexican drug violence”:
GAO, June 2009: Available evidence indicates a large proportion of the firearms fueling Mexican drug violence originated in the United States, including a growing number of increasingly lethal weapons. While it is impossible to know how many firearms are illegally trafficked into Mexico in a given year,

WSJ: “GAO Ties U.S. Guns to Mexico Violence”

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study by the Government Accountability Office says "most firearms recovered in drug violence in Mexico come from the U.S." The WSJ, which obtained and reviewed a draft of the study, says the full report is to be released later today.
This news might seem to confirm the claims made by President Barack Obama and others that "more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States."

Privately Owned Gun Tax?

Q: Would Senate bill 2099 put a yearly $50 tax on each privately owned firearm?
A: There is no such bill. A chain e-mail containing bogus claims refers to a bill that died more than eight years ago.

Georgia Arms

 Q: Did the Obama administration shut down a Georgia ammunition supplier? Is it trying to create an ammo shortage?
A: Georgia Arms still is doing a booming business in reloaded military cartridges. The Pentagon quickly reversed a move to stop selling spent casings.

Oklahoma’s Conservativism

Q: Is Oklahoma as defiantly conservative as a chain e-mail says?
A: The state is one of the most Republican in the nation, but the message exaggerates Oklahoma’s laws on religion, immigration and guns.

Soldiers’ Private Guns

Q: Is the Army demanding information about soldiers' privately owned firearms?
A: This is another false Internet rumor. A memo from one commander of a small unit in Kentucky was an isolated mistake that was quickly corrected; it wasn't Army policy.

Counting Mexico’s Guns

There’s no dispute that thousands of handguns, military-style rifles and other firearms are purchased in the U.S. and end up in the hands of Mexican criminals each year. It’s relatively easy to buy such guns legally in Texas and other border states and to smuggle them across. But is …